Monday, July 13, 2015

The odd outcome of an (almost) empty calendar

(You may notice photos at weird angles and in strange clusters. I'm trying an experiment here by collaging several photos on a white background to see whether I can get clear enough photos at a lower resolution. Some of my friends have slow Internet and loading the full photos takes a long time. I kind of blew it here by forgetting to resize the solo pictures.)

I look at my calendar.  There's hardly a to-do noted on it for weeks ahead. I have my weekly NeedleCrafts; a nail appointment every three weeks; hair, approximately five weeks. Sporadic doctor's appointments. With the long lines of blank spaces on my calendar, I have to remember to look at it every day to make sure something doesn't slip by. How often have I seen my manicurist's name on Caller ID and answered "whoops?"

I look at this calendar with relief. With summer still stretching before me, I look forward to quilting and blogging.

Blogging. I've fallen well short of my original daily blogging intent. But, if I'm not doing anything, what is there to blog about?  We shall see.

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A few days after the 4th of July, I post this on Facebook.

That's Little Black Kitty and Timmy Longstockings above in their normal romping mode. Timmy and Extra Extra who has also disappeared are still missing.  Extra Extra and Timmy are the two on the upper right at the food bowl below. Little M, whom I think of as "Nina's Kitty," holds back on the food, while LBK chows down.

They lounge on the bench and also use it as an exercise apparatus. All is quiet on the bench without Timmy and Extra here. In fact, LBK spends a lot of time now under that tarp  that covers the patio table set that you see behind them.

In happier times
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We had another event with a lot of poignancy and feelings of loss. Our Soroptimist International of our little community reluctantly disbanded at the end of June. Changing demographics took a toll on worker bees and the community service tasks were too much challenge for an older, smaller membership.

I actually cooked -- well, baked -- for the club's final program meeting and potluck. Look! I made cheese cake, which Irma Rombauer calls Refrigerator Cream Cake with Sour Cream in my ancient edition (1953) of Joy of Cooking.

We heard a presentation from director of Amigos de Guatemala. Over the years, our club and several members individually provided funds for education of girls, and for medical needs for one, in a remote village in Guatemala, and worked along with Rotary to build schools and water facilities. One of the head people in the village presented the director with this all purpose blanket woven in the typical pattern and colors of the village.

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That's my little motivator below for my revitalized quilting. For it I combined lessons from two classes to make this: the pattern for an Ohio Star Sampler from a local quilting class; and using Asian-style fabrics and some techniques from a class at Empty Spools Seminars. It is pieced by machine, hand embroidered and quilted, and embellished with sashiko stitching. It's small, probably 2½ feet square. It makes me smile to look at it.

Ohio Star Sampler Goes East, 1998-99

And there are always cats. Always. Here we have Henley giving me a little love pinch on the cheek.

There are trips to the Little City Down the Hill for medical appointments and purchase of large bags and boxes of cat food and kitty litter. In the first shot below, I stop because I like the ranch gate and the thunderheads off over the mountains. In the second shot, I return home and the sky is darkening in My Little Town. In the third, I've stopped at Sister's house to check on a package delivery. The sky is getting really dark.

Still, we have no rain at our level, except for the splat of several large rain drops.

There is a weekend trip to Daughter's house for June birthday celebrations, hers and mine. Jean-Luc knows suitcases. He gives me the evil eye.

The one thing still on my weekly schedule is NeedleCrafts. Our knitting and crocheting ladies are soooo prolific. I love my blues and greens, so this fluffy baby sweater and hat appeal to me. Look at the size of those knitting needles Sha is sporting on the second row down. On the right, hand-piecing of penny-rug parts is underway.

Just above, Sister's "sewing" project sees her in the final countdown to her upcoming Morgans Over America trip. She's making table decorations, with sticks, glue and photos, for a banquet. I don't know whether these are to be a surprise, so just in case, shhhh.
I'm moving stuff around -- oh, "arranging" sounds better -- in my quilt studio. (I'm trying to think of it as a studio, not as just a sewing room, the better to fake myself into creativity.) There are several bags with partially completed projects, known in quilting as UFOs, or UnFinished Objects. This quilt top was made in 2005 as a Mystery Quilt. The name of the pattern remains a mystery to me. Everything is in the bag for sandwiching and quilting. It's big, something like 93"x93".

Still, there are some terrific fabric sales online. I discover the sales when I go online to find backing fabric for my shimmer quilt.

I've acquired nteresting prints on subtle backgrounds and bright batiks, below.  My first purchase for the backing for the shimmer quilt (up on the design wall) didn't please me. Wrong color. I know. How can it be wrong? It's on the back. I order another color. Maybe I waffled on what I checked on the order form, or a cancellation of one of my ideas didn't "take," but I end up with two more backings. I like the one I thought I'd cancelled best. In any case, I'm set for a couple of future backings.

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It got my doctor's attention during one of those appointments when I complained about nodding off during the day practically any time I sit down, then added that I fell asleep at the wheel once and fight sleep on other occasions. He orders an overnight test with an oximeter.  Results are not back yet.

My mornings start with Jean-Luc and the Today Show.

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After all these years, I still run to the window to look at deer outside. It never gets old. This little guy looks so exposed sitting out there in the middle of a bare patch at the house across the street.

Fan girl that I am, I buy a beautiful sign made by Prairie Art Metal from Jim Wright's photo of Pioneer Peak in Alaska. (Two layers in plasma puzzle format... I think it's steel.)  Jim blogs "Stonekettle Station," and is an enthusiastic social media participant. Prairie Art also made Jim's ShopKat logo wall-hanging by the same process. I'm pondering how I'm going to mount and display these. They weigh a lot! It will be on the wall with the guitar you see in the shimmer quilt photo above.

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A couple who lives in our community travels to many exotic places in the world and has put together slide shows of many of these. They are running a series at the Little House. I attend one on their travels in Jordan. I know Jordan would be too strenuous a trip for me, so here is my chance to see some of the highlights. We're on a break here. The folding chairs are brutal to sit on when arranged theater style. I manage to sit for hours on the same chairs at NeedleCrafts where I'm busy leaning over my work on a table. I'd like to see some more of the shows.

And flowers blooming at Sister's house when I check again for the anticipated delivery.

First time ever. When I come in from the deck after feeding the feral cats, Henley greets me through the ram's horn. It strikes me as so funny, I make him stay there until I can get my camera. Of course, after making the fuss over Henley, Jean-Luc comes up for a peek, too, but I don't get that picture. There is a beautiful carving inside the horn. According to the artist, the horn comes from a ram that died a natural death. Got it in Alaska. 

Sister, Brother-in-Law and I go to the club for dinner on the 4th of July. I start with a summer soup. It's good once I extract the avocado, one of the abhorrent "A" vegetables I eschew. My main dish is fish and chips with a shredded cabbage salad. The fish and chips are crispy and the cabbage salad tangy. I know the recent restaurant trend is to stack the food in a pile in the center of the plate. It looks very chic, but my personal preference in food service is to place the food separately on the plate, so the items maintain their own character and taste.

Ice cream on top of the berry cobbler is okay. In this case, stacking the food is suitable.

We decide we are not going to hassle with traffic and parking to watch our own little, and actually quite nice, fireworks show, so after dinner we go to Sister's  and BIL's house for awhile to watch fireworks on TV, but we aren't able to find any that we feel like watching the pre-show entertainment for. I go home to be with my kitties during our local fireworks. Despite my really good insulation that blocks out most outside noise, Henley and Jean-Luc are terrified and run for hiding places.

The poor feral cats aren't sheltered from the bangs and flashes. I see Little Black Kitty out there before I go to bed. I see LBK and Little M for breakfast. I haven't seen my other two or the occasional visitors since.  

Jean-Luc discovers the pile of fabrics that have been serged on the raw edges for pre-wash. "Come here, silly boy," I tell him. He complies.

The usual front deck kitties, who live across the street, but come for a few extra snacks, are missing, too. These three kittens who live across the street now come to play on the front deck. I wonder how old they have to be before they'll be eligible for the spay-neuter bus. (There are three. That solo one is just a face view of one of the eaters.)

I'm feeling pensive now. Can this be called eclectica?

Life goes on.



  1. Your shimmer quilt is really hard on eyes with astigmatism...that's how I almost see everything

    1. I was a bit worried when I took the shimmer quilt class that it might have a negative visual effect on me, but it turns out to be okay. I'm not able, for example, to look at quilts made with the Pineapple quilt block. (Let's see if I can copy photo. I can't. Here's a link:,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNEKfastd2sBcq2-gc6aEUbaDIee7Q&ust=1436986089372202 .)

      I also can't look at those lighted letters that stream accross a message board.
      So I guess I'd better not make you a shimmer quilt. :-)

  2. I hate to hear about your group disbanding. It seemed to be so active and productive. Maybe you will all miss it so much you'll come back together stronger than ever.

  3. You are caring for so many pretty cats. That is sad your group disbanded; demographics of an aging group can lead to that. That is why I love all the young people in our church. They are the future. Your group was doing some good projects that helped people, sad to see that go.

  4. Lee, It looks like you have so much to blog about! Whenever I have free time on the calendar, I get so little done. I guess I need deadlines to get things done. We'll see because one of my colleges is on break from now through Aug. 31. I should get a lot accomplished.
    Thanks for your thoughts on my wayward son. Other people's perspective always helps.